Thursday, December 1, 2011

THE GOOD SON: FINDING MYSELF IN THE BOOK OF MORMON

 
KELLY RAE ROBERTS



2 Timothy 3:17 That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.

Have you experienced those “spiritual” growing pains, but then how would you know? It starts with the courage to believe and then to enter the pool of baptism. It can also be that “Mighty Change of Heart”. So this on Dec 29 I will note my 4th year of baptism. Is there a celebration for this, I haven’t heard of too many people marking this with balloons or parties, or whatever. But then I think we should mark each anniversary with reflection, prayer and with a review. My thoughts are this, how is our growth measured post baptism? I am speaking as a recent convert to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and to other converts, but not exclusively. When I was taking discussions post baptism, I wondered if there was a “Dummies” book. You know the “_____” for Dummies books. There is a “Mormonism for Dummies” book.

So recently I have been attending a Book of Mormon Study Group. This is where the scriptures really pop. When I was investigating the Church, my primary assignment was to read the Book of Mormon. I tried, and I did read some, but I struggled. I know that Missionaries have a Study Plan for investigators, and it is usually contingent on the one who is seeking to desire the book. At that time, I don’t know if I was seeking but I know I was waiting for God to point me in the direction of a new church, I just didn’t expect a new set of scriptures. So it was hard, and my missionaries almost gave up on me, but they persevered. I remember slogging through 1 Nephi, specifically chapters 1-5. I was really frustrated with the brothers Laman and Lemuel. They were a piece of work, and how about that Nephi? One minute he’s a kid, a teenager living the good life and then he’s camping in the wilderness. He is narrating the record and he is a prophet. It was too much for me, but I wanted to have a testimony of the Book of Mormon . So another tactic, I was introduced to Joseph Smith, the founding Prophet of the Church of Jesus Christ of LDS. I only knew the “hearsay” concerning him. So I watched the movie about his life, and I identified with him, as one who was seeking, who was not perfect, but had a whole hearted love for God and Jesus Christ. And because of a single and heartfelt desire, he was granted a personal visit from the Father and the Son. Ok, I believe and I know the truth. (How simple was that?)

My question was then; “Is that it, is that all?” How do you get to do the good stuff? What is that good stuff anyway? When does it start?

One of God’s promises to me in my Patriarchal Blessing was that “I would learn to love the Book of Mormon and it would become a beloved book to me just like the Bible.” It’s started…..

For this class, I bought myself a small Triple (Book of Mormon, Doctrine & Covenants and Pearl of Great Price).and at first I thought I should transcribe some of my notes from my Quad. But I felt I should write fresh notes, different observations. I have taken the advice and challenge of Sister Julie Beck, a challenge from her talk in 2010 at the BYU Women’s Conference:
“I have a little exercise for those of you who want something specific to do in your scripture study. Get a new little copy of the Book of Mormon. In the front of it, open to a blank page and write three questions: Who am I? What are my responsibilities in the house of Israel? How do I fulfill my responsibilities? As you read and study, you will find some blank pages in the back. You can add Post-it notes if you like. Start writing your answers in the back as you read and you will have a journey of discovery about who you are. It doesn’t matter how long this study takes. Take one month, take ten years, and discover who you are. When you finish studying those questions in the Book of Mormon, study them in the Doctrine and Covenants, the Pearl of Great Price, and the Old Testament. The Lord knows who you are. He knows what your responsibilities are and how you can fulfill them. Power and strength will come to you as you understand who you are in the Lord’s kingdom.” Julie B. Beck Relief Society General President
That first question was a hard one: Who am I? I can add to that question, can Heavenly Father help me to find out who I am? How will I know?
EPHESIANS 2:10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
I think that 1 Nephi 1-1 should be noted as one of the most profound introductions to a book and/or character study.
1 Nephi 1:1 I Nephi, having been born of goodly parents, therefore I was taught somewhat in all the learning of my father, and having seen many afflictions in the course of my days, nevertheless having been highly favored of the Lord in all of my days; yea having had a great knowledge of the goodness and the mysteries of God, therefore I make a record of my proceedings in my days

My question for Nephi is what did he do to become highly favored?
1 Nephi 2:16  And it came to pass that I Nephi, being exceedingly young, nevertheless being large in stature, and also having great desires to know of the mysteries of God,, wherefore, I did cry unto the Lord; and behold he did visit me and did soften my heart that I did believe all the words which had been spoken by my father; wherefore, I did not rebel against him like unto my brothers.
I was surprised to note that Nephi’s heart was softened so that he could receive the word of God as the truth. At first I thought that Nephi was maybe the son who was like an ally to his father. He was his “Dads boy” so to speak. But I remember that even though I truly wanted to find a new church and to have confirmation in my life that God knew who I was, my heart was not soft. As a matter of fact, I felt at times it was frozen. I don’t think I was a diligent as Nephi, but after all of my lessons, one missionary gave a moving testimony of Joseph Smith. She spoke in her own words about how he suffered so much to establish the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, how he gave himself as a martyr for the faith.

Romans 10:16-18
16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report?
17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
I found some characteristics that Nephi had that I want to emulate; He was a good son, a good brother. He had 2 very obnoxious siblings in Laman and Lemuel but somehow he saw beyond that and loved them anyway. He sought out a relationship with his Father Lehi. If you read the history of the Jews in the Old Testament during this time period, the times were much like our own. Children were at odds with their parents, and parents were feeling displaced, even in their own homes. Nephi was an obedient son.

Philippians 2:13-15
13For it is God which worketh in you; both to will and to do of his good pleasure.
14Do all things without murmurings and disputing
15That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world;
Wow, this is so much to take in. I did not see this my first or even 2nd attempt a reading the Book of Mormon. All of this info came to my heart, even this week. I love the way that God shows us that we all have many things in common and that is a good thing. By having things in common we can learn from each other and become what God wants us to be.
So the question is asked: Who am I? I believe that I am a "daughter" of God.

Nephite was a sunbeam.     
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